Craig Butcher

Front End Web Developer

hey Do Lectures

Update: 29th March 2021.

Since having wrote about this a decade ago and have been constantly checking year after year. Their introduction message to the world on their website is now:

The idea is a simple one: To gather together the world’s DOers, disruptors and change makers, experts and pioneers, to share their stories, and encourage others to go and DO.

A quick glance over their website shows:

  1. There are no subtitles on the videos.
  2. There are no subtitles on the videos.
  3. There are no subtitles on the videos.

Since we are in national lockdown for a year, it would have been inspirational to look at this website and watch speakers tell their stories. Unfortunately, ten years is too long for a company to errr.. do ... what is right.


I wrote this e-mail to Do Lectures on the subject of subtitles/transcripts for their inspiring videos on their website in early 2010. I got a response back from Alex Heslop and the founder, David Hieatt, and it seems that the public were very quiet towards this when it was mentioned on their website. On the last look, Do Lectures has redesigned their website and the post seems to linger on tumblr in a need of a revive which I did to put back on this website.

When I write with a belief, boy, do I write. I care about this matter and I strongly believe we can get there for everyone.

Update: Jon Heslop replied!

"Hey Craig,

We’re in the middle of building a new website that will utilise HTML5 to embed and play our lectures, we’re planning on bolting on subtitle support too.

We’re also hoping to launch some sort or transcription and translation project later this year.
As of now we only have one talk transcribed and time stamped, which you can get here. https://github.com/ecarnevale/do_lectures_subs
Thank you so much for offering your services.

At the moment we’re busy getting the new website ready but I will definitely get back to you later this year to let you know how we intend to get all the talks transcribed.

Thanks for your enthusiasm.

Jon

Once you get started with belief, the people you know love to ride on that.

Here is the e-mail that started it all:

Hey Do,

I thought I drop an e-mail to talk about an important matter about accessibility on your website and I believe that this e-mail will provoke some thoughts and excitement how to cover this base.

The subject? Subtitles/Transcripts.

At first, I came across your website and see a huge potential, so huge that it has the power to change our ways of thinking, to be inspired, to do something. I want to be part of that, to share the understanding and experiences of other people of what they have to say and I'm denied because of my hearing impairment.

Not only this, there is an international audience out there that would love transcripts in their first language. Are you feeling this little buzz I'm getting here? Your website already has the power to connect with those people and being a multicultured world we are in, the power of subtitles/transcripts will take it one further so they feel they are involved and spread the word.

Now I can imagine the issue of subtitling/transcript can be time consuming to do along with the cost of paying a company to do the writing, subtitles implementation, the list can go on a fair bit. The word 'cost' can have a few downers, bring doom and gloom and bad cups of teas.

Let me turn that downer to a smiler with my suggestions.

Websites like TED.com has asked people to contribute subtitles, transcripts and translation of videos featured on their website and a big smile on my face was permanently fixed after having to guesswork what was being said over the course of the years. Hundreds of videos at my fingertips and I'm ready to be inspired.

Another brilliant website demonstrating photography and video work is Media Storm(2) uses transcripts on their website to make sure the audience understand what is being said. It is well known that people often doesn't understand a voice particularly well and quickly has to guess 'what is being said next?'. The flow of spoken words is important and it makes us to be fluent in our own language.

What should you do? You have an army of followers out there who are willing to do something. A huge Internet community, imagine them contributing transcripts in many languages and your website goes from strength to strength.

How is this going to work on your website? I quickly took a screengrab of your website and did a rough mock up of what should be a great idea to do.

You could put an additional text on the video interface labeled 'transcript' that is clickable (it will change to 'transcript off' to turn off... uhh... transcripts). This will bring down a slide box behind and beneath the video that comes with it own scroller so the user can scroll up and down what is being said. Want to dismiss the box? Click on 'transcript off' and it slides back behind the video.

It is simple as that (I could hear the designers and coders going 'hmmmm' at the thought of that) and I hope this e-mail will inspire Do Lectures to produce further unique talks.

Best wishes,

Craig

← Home